Arizona-Oregon Preview: Arizona Wildcats Look to Remain Unbeaten
(4)Arizona (14-0) at Oregon (12-2)
9 p.m. EST, Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon
Points: Mark Lyons - 14.1 points per game
Rebounds: Brandon Ashley - 6.1 rebounds per game
Assists: Mark Lyons - 3.1 assists per game
Points: Damyean Dotson - 11.8 points per game
Rebounds: Arsalan Kazemi - 9.8 rebounds per game
Assists: Dominic Artis - 3.6 assists per game
Following two extremely close games against conference opponents, the Arizona Wildcats dropped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the college basketball rankings. Let's be real here. Getting off to your best start in 81 years at 14-0 has to take at least a little bit of luck, right?
Arizona's leading scorer, Mark Lyons, boasts 14.1 points per game. However, he currently sits in a shooting slump, going just 11-of-39 from the field over the last three games.
Nick Johnson also averages double figures in scoring with 12.2 points per game, but like Lyons, hasn't been able to find his rhythm shooting in the last three games. He is also stuck in a shooting slump, going 7-of-33 from the field in that span.
If Arizona is going to keep its unbeaten season alive, the team is going to need better shooting from everyone. On Saturday against Utah, Arizona shot just 21-of-58 (.362) from the field and barely escaped a home-court loss with a 60-57 victory.
A few days before that, the Wildcats all but lost to Colorado.
The luck is going to run out eventually for Arizona. The Wildcats need to come together and get it going with their skill. They have the talent to back their 14-0 record, but their play of late hasn't proven it. They were well-deserving of a drop in the rankings and are lucky Indiana didn't jump ahead of them as well.
If they are going to jump to 15-0, they are going to have to beat an Oregon team, who is 10-0 at home this season, on the road Thursday. Winning 10 games is never easy, but the Ducks haven't beaten a reputable team on their home court yet this year.
The only chance the Ducks had to beat a ranked opponent at home, they lost to Cincinnati.
Oregon has a young team containing seven freshmen. The Ducks currently rank 20th in the NCAA in rebounds, averaging 41.1 rebounds per game.
Arizona has the height and strength to match up with Oregon inside, but the Wildcats can't afford to miss too many outside shots and let Oregon dominate the boards. That will be the difference in this game.
What could be on Arizona's side is that Oregon has lost 10 straight games against top-10 opponents. That obviously should never be an excuse to not show up. Thursday's contest will prove to be a tough game to win for whoever comes away victorious.
I am taking the Wildcats to regain their shooting stroke and remain unbeaten. Wildcats win 81-72.
All stats and rankings courtesy of ESPN.com.
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